tv PBS News Hour PBS September 29, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
around the world. good evening, i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, we examine the latest move to deal with europe's debt troubles and assess whether it will avert a crisis. >> brown: then, two updates on the arab spring. we have a report from bahrain where doctors have been jailed for treating protesters. and margaret warner looks at politics in saudi arabia where women will soon vote but can't drive. >> woodruff: we have another of our interviews with republican presidential candidates. tonight, former house speaker newt gingrich. >> it would be nice to have somebody who actually knows what they're doing and could actually get it done in washington, and i think of the candidates running, i'm the only one with a track record of actually achieving things at a national level. >> brown: from our "economist film project" series, we excerpt a documentary about the united nation's push to stem the flow of opium out of afghanistan. >> we focus on high-all targets. we focus on the biggest, the
baddest, the largest drug trafficking organizations in afghanistan and the region. >> woodruff: and we close with sports and the dramatic end to baseball's regular season, as the boston red sox and the atlanta braves fail to make the playoffs. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies make huge profits. >> last year, chevron made a lot of money. >> where does it go? >> every penny and more went into bringing energy to the world. >> the economy is tough right now, everywhere. >> we pumped $21 million into local economies, into small businesses, communities, equipment, materials. >> that money could make a big difference to a lot of people. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to
live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: efforts to contain the debt crisis in europe took a major step forward today. the german government won a critical vote on expanding a continental bailout fund with greatly increased german financial support. it could ease the way to a partial default in greece. we begin our coverage with a report from faisal islam, of "independent television news." >> reporter: a vote to save the single currency in berlin. in the end, resounding backing from germany's lower house the bundestag.
german m.p.s parking their fears about the dizzying exposure of hundreds of billions of euros to debts that aren't there's, but this process has exposed serious faultlines in german politics and problems of the german government. >> ( translated ): it's not about greece. it's not about giving money to greece, it's an umbrella to protect the whole of europe. and this is nothing else than in the german national interest, dear colleagues. >> reporter: m.p.s reported acute arm-twisting like this for yet in greece today remarkable occupations of seven government ministries by angry civil servants to meet the return to athens of the so-called troika of i.m.f. e.u. economic inspectors. the specter of greece not paying even more of its debts is gaining ground in germany even one politician who could end up
the next center left german chancellor backing it in today's debate. but it's also the next chapter of this rolling euro crisis brewing already. the berlin wall, or at least a piece of it in just across the western border of germany at schengen-- the place where europe's politicians allow people free movement across borders this is the temple to dissolving of borders within europe unlike germany france is very nervous pushing greece to renege on more of its pile of debt, worried about the impact on its banks. unlike germany france is very nervous pushing greece to renege on more of its pile of debt, worried about the impact on its banks. one euro stress alleviated, and another one appears. >> brown: for more on the german vote and the american worry over the euro, we turn to: stefan
richter, publisher and editor of the online magazine, "the globalist." and, from berlin, nicholas kulish of the "new york times." how did people there see the stakes in today's vote. how important was it? >> i think people see the stakes as extremely high. i think that they understand that the entire euro currency, even the project of european integration, could be at stake. and so they took it very seriously. >> brown: and in terms of people's public attitudes and pressures on the politicians there, are people exhausted? angry? how much support is there for doing something? >> well, i think, you know, i was in the bend stag today, and i saw some parliamentarians who were at their wit's end, who were talking about retiring after the pressure that was put on them to vote with angela merkel. you know, the regular people out on the street just have a very
hard time understanding why after years of cutbacks, they suddenly have found hundreds of billions in loan guarantees for the greeks. it's a difficult time. >> brown: stephan, how important do you think the vote was and why? >> i think it was very important. it was in american terms achieving first base or maybe second base. there's a long road to go. it was a necessary step, not a sufficient one. there are a whole lot of other things that need to happen but there was a vital and vibe vibrant and vociferous public debate and that's necessary because what we tend to forget this is about the power of the purse, the essence of made democracy, the power of politicians against convinces and now the money of the people is being pushed around europe and i think it's necessary but in a democracy you have to have a big debate about that and it will be painful. >> brown: even as that debates going on in preparation of this vote, many people were saying this isn't
enough anyway, right? it's not clear yet, but that was going on. coyou sense any growing understanding that more will be needed? >> i think everybody knows we're going through some motions. as i said, first base, second base. there's already talk at the world bank i.m.f. annual meeting about replenishing the fund, about doing more to make sure banks don't do this stuff again because there was no cross-border supervision and things like that. the key is to lay the foundation, to get europe right. they got it wrong in '97 when they tried to do some of these things about fiscal probity. they screwed it up. they neve never put it into rea. it's costly if you don't take the right measures at the right time
>> all republicans visited trippery to meet with the country's new rulers. arizona senator john mccain pledged support for building a libyan democracy. >> the work will not be easy. progress will not come evenly or all at once. this is libya's revolution, not ours. you deserve all of the credit for its success, and you are
responsible for its future. but all of the citizenses of libya can know this. the united states and especially your friends in this congress will stand by you and be your ally, and now and a massachusetts man has been charged with plotting to attack the pentagon and the u.s. capitol with remote-controlled airplanes. rezwan ferdaus was arrested wednesday after an fbi sting operation. he allegedly planned to pack these planes and one other with plastic explosive. they're guided by g.p.s. and fly more than 100 miles an hour. undercover agents provided the explosives, but fbi officials said they were carefully monitored and the public was never in danger. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> brown: now, a two part look at the tremors from the arab spring that have hit the arabian peninsula.
first, a report from bahrain, where doctors and nurses face imprisonment for treating demonstrators wounded in protests against the ruling family. troops from saudi arabia helped put down that rebellion earlier this year. jonathan rugman of "independent television news" reports. >> it was the revolution that mysterious, bahrain's mostly shi'a uprising against a sunni. at least 30 people are killed and hundreds were wounded. >> one bullet. i see his head bleeding. completely senator pieces, many, many, many pieces. >> reporter: now 20 doctors and hours in treated the injured have been jailed for up to 15 years. the hearing in this special security court lasted all of seven minutes. the accused are found guilty of trying to overthrow the monarchy, in what human right
groups said was a travesty of justice. >> that's the only reason why they got arrested and later sentenced to the a harsh sentence because there are witness >> what we saw was of 20 doctors and nurses, 5,000 who work at the general hospital, were convicted of collaborating with the hard-line protesters in bahrain to barricade themselves in the hospital and use it for their personal political gain. >> reporter: one doctor had earlier claimed she was raped in custody. >> they sexually harassed me and they said. >> reporter:and a plastic surgeon told me at the height of the violence that the security forces had beaten him so hard, he lost consciousness. >> >> the police were surrounding me, and they tied me, they tied
me with strings and it was really tight. and then they started to beat me with their sticks. >> reporter: the government sent an independent commission investigating the unrest will report next month, and this will help bahrain move on. this was how the security forces dealt with protesters only last week. these pictures, which we can't verify, were apparently filmed last friday by the protesters themselves. tonight, the foreign office said it was deeply concerned by prison sentences which it said appeared disproportionate. though the medics can appeal,
the authorities' clear message is that they will not tolerate a return to unrest. >> brown: margaret warner has second part of our arab spring update. >> warner: now to the key power on the penninsula-- saudi arabia, which in word and deed has expressed its misgivings about popular dissent in the region. at the same time, the kingdom is looking for ways to let some steam out of the political pressure cooker. today it held elections for seats to some 300 municipal councils. but only men were allowed to vote, and turnout was low. to explore all this, we turn to caryle murphy, a pulitzer prize winning former correspondent for the "washington post." she is now a fellow at the wilson international center for scholars and has just returned from three years in saudi arabia for "global post." and nice to see you again, caryle. >> nice to be here. >> warner: so fair to say that saudi arabia is still doing whatever it can to prevent infection from the arab spring, whether it's to its own
neighbors, like bahrain, or at home. >> absolutely. i mean, it was very rattled by all these events earlier in the year, especially by the downfall of mubarak. and so it came up with certain strategies. one of them was, as your report said, was to send troops into bahrain. a second one was to give $130 billion financial package of benefits to the citizens, including things like unemployment insurance. and i would say a third thing was the king's surprise announcement sunday that he's decided to appoint women who is now an all-male advisory council council and in four years from now, to allow women to vote in the same elections as the men held today for the municipal council. >> warner: so is he responding to a level of discop at the present time, at least among members of the royal family?
you just spent three years there. >> definitely. many, many saudis are very happy with the royal family. they conot want the royal family overthrown. but membership of those saudis also want a more participation in their open government. that's why we saw earlier this year four or five petitions signed by a wide array of the population from seculars to islamists, asking for a constitutional monarchy. and the government so far has not indicated that it's willing to do that. >> warner: now take these municipal councils. this is only the second time they've had these elections. at least they were open to all mep, yet, from all reportes, the turnout was pretty low. now, that because people are-- you just said they're not satisfied with the level of participation or is it because they're-- they think these councils are meaningless? i mean, what explains that? >> i think a large explanation for the low turnout today is
that these councils have not really proven to be effectual at all. they're not givee big budgets, they're not given power. and i think the saudis, you know, saw that last time when they were elected, they didn't have much power to do anything so why should they vote again? and i must say, also, not every male is allowed to vote in this. you have to be at least 21, and you cannot be a member of the police or security. >> warner: so fair to say these municipal councils are nothing like a city council we might know in the united states. >> no, no, they are mostly to give advice to city officials and maybe to make decisions about festivals. >> warner: you mentioned over the weekend the king did say four gears now women can vote in these elections. what people often know a lot about here in the united states is the other restrictions on women, whether the right to vote or the right to dress certain
ways. the king also made an interesting move today about a woman who had been sentenced to 10 lashes for daring to drive. tell us about that and what that means. >> well, the king's announcement is potentially historic, and whether or not it is-- >> warner: about voting. >> about voting and about participating in the madras, any whether it become historic and a landmark will depend on how it is implemented. how it will be implemented is important because it will run up against the country's strict gender segregation and the system called guardianship where a male militant has to give permission for anything important a woman does outside the home. now, two days after the king said this, a judge imposed a sentence of 10 lashings on one of the women who was participating in thisias-roots campaign to lift the ban on female drivers. this was scene by many people as sort of a slap at the king.
by someone who didn't like what he did on sunday. >> warner: oh! so the judge reacting to the king? >> it's possible. it's very much possible because it's the harshest sentence meeted out to any woman driver since this campaign began in june. and the king made clear that he wasn't going to tolerate that, and a day later, reports, which are pretty accurate, i think, say that he has vacated that sentence. >> warner: so does this tell you, though, that the king really want to and can drive a greater liberalization for women's rights in general, or is that going too far? >> the king sobviously, one of the progressives in the royal family. he knows the challenges saudis are facing, especially when it doms modernization and advancing women. but he has a very, very conservative population to take care of and a very conservative
religious establishment. so he doesn't want to-- he wants to drag them along. he doesn't want to make them so angry that they become even more openly in dissent to him. >> warner: so bottom line here, what do you think the prospects of for saudi arabia, period, for men and women? you said people you know there want more political participation, but are they angry, upset enough to demand it? >> i think that because saudi arabia has to integrate even more than it already is with the rest of the world, it cannot stay the same. change is coming, but it's not going to come quickly. it's going to be maybe a decade or two before you see an elected parliament there. that's what i think. >> warner: well, thank you for sharing what you think. caryle murphy, thanks so much. >> nice to be here.
>> woodruff: next, to campaign politics, and our interview with republican presidential candidate newt gingrich. it's the third in our series of conversations with the contenders seeking to take on president obama in next year's election. i spoke with the former house speaker a short time ago from des moines, iowa. former speaker newt gingrich, thank you for talking with us. >> good to be with you. >> woodruff: when you unveiled your new 21st century contract with america today, you said it was time to have an adult conversation with the american people. are you saying that it's very difficult to do that in the kinds of presidential campaigns we have today? >> yeah, it's very difficult. it's difficult to get past the elite media's passion for trivia. it's difficult to deal with presidential debates that say in 30 second what's your position on balancing the budget. you know, i don't think we're geared outside maybe of c-span, to the kind of conversations that we really need in order for
the country to make decisions that are really very fundamental. we're at a crossroads in american history that may be as decisive as anything sincine 60. and we're not really-- 18 and i recollect we're not really geared for that kind of conversation. >> woodruff: let's talk about some of the loments. one that struck me was medicare. you would give seniors a choice of remaining in the existing system, or going outside it, picking a private health insurer, and then getting some federal government assistance. is that because you think the current system is not sustainable? >> well, i think the more choices we have, the more competition there is. the more you have lower prices, more innovation. that seems to be our experience in all of american life. and i think what washington-based red-type-ridden monopolies, particularly systems that, frankly, do a terrible job of policing themselves. medicare and medicaid right now
pay somewhere between $70 and $120 billion a year to crooks because they're so inefficient as managers of our money. i think we can do much better than that. >> woodruff: you mentioned medicaid, and as i understand it, what you're proposing is to turn much or all of that over to the states, letting them pick up the tab for taking care of low-income individuals, people with disabilities. my question is a number of states don't have enough money to cover everybody in the low-income categories. so what would happen to those people? >> well, i think if you look, the proposal, which congressman paul ryan nentially put out, and i which i agree with, to block grant the money back to the state. the federal government will provide money but it will provide it with dramatically greater flexibility, a better ability to modernize things is. as i pointed out a minute ago, the "new york times" has suggest the, for example, that in new york state, over 10% of their payments are to people who are stealing. now, that's in the new york state system over $4 billion a
year in one state alone. just making the system honest would save enough money to cover an awful lot of folks who people are border, but for whom we don't have the money right now. >> woodruff: another thing i know you're interested in is additional research on the human brain. would that entail more money to the national institutes of health, the n.i.h., to do that candy of research? >> well aircraft not sure whether it would go the national institutes of health or some public-private consortium. i think it should be run much like the human genome product was. the brain science may sound like an odd thing for a politician to talk about. the fact is it is one of key areas of breakthrough in the next 20 years. in alzheimer's alone, we're expected to spend between now and 2050 about $20 trillion, public and private gained. that's one and a half times the current federal debt. so sometimes when people are
looking for ways to help save dramatic amounts of money, they ought it look for breakthroughs to improve things, not just ways to cut things. and when i talk to brain scientists, they believe if we could simply slow down the onset of alzheimer's by five years, we save somewhere between $8trillion and $10 trillion. that's almost the entire size of the current national debt between now and 2050. when you do brain science, you're also doing autism, parkinson's, mental health, systems of ling it's a system we're underfund asking frankly not managing very well. >> woodruff: let's talk about jobs. what are two things you would do to create jobs. i see you require job training for people who qualify for extend unemployment benefit. how would that be paid for? how much would that cost? >> well, first of all, i think you take the current amount of money we're spending and you could say to all the states, you have the right to require a
training program offered by businesses, so it doesn't cost the taxpayer anything. we're giving people money right now for 99 weeks for doing nothing. now, in 99 weeks' time, they could acquire the math and the science knowledge to get a job. we have i think three million jobs in this country that we currently can't fill because we don't have workers who are trained to do those particular kinds of jobs. it's both wrong in terms of dependency to give people 99 weeks of money under doing nothing, and it's a terrible misinvestment. the exact same number of dollars applied to signing up for a business training program would in fact dramatically improve the workforce of the country. in addition, i would repeal the dodd-frank bill and i would repeal sarbanes-oxley. those both are killing jobs. i would dramatically expand american energy. we have a great capacity to produce all the energy we need in the united states. that would create billions of dollars in additional federal revenue with no tax increase and
would create hundreds of thousands new jobs. one estimate as membership as 1.2 million jobs in the energy field alone. >> woodruff: just quickly, on your web site, when you write about the contract-- i was reading it today-- you say you see this as a fight between on the one hand the american people and on the other hand you talk about hostile elites who have contempt for the american people. who are you talking about? >> when people go to newt.org, when you have burrcrat as e.p.a., who issue rule rules abt dust on dirt roads, you talk to any person in iowa of either party and they'll tell you this is a level of arrogance and a level of being out of touch with reality that is amazing. when you have a federal judge in san antonio who rule not only can students not have a prayer at their graduation, if they use the word "god," if they use the word "benediction" they ask the
audience to stand, he will lock up the superintendent. that was june 1. that is clearly an elitist hostile to american civilization and hostile to the core values american society. you can go down the list. it's pretty clear cut. there's a core historic tradition of america which i wrote about in "a nation like no other" and which i think most americans agree with, we're endowed by our creator with rights, among them the pursuit of happiness. there is elite in the academy, in news media, in bureaucracy, in courts who disagree with that and who would do everything they could to, frankly, limb nathat from public life. >> woodruff: newt gingrich, when people ask you how or why you would be better than the other republican candidates for president, what do you say? >> i say, first of all, we're in real trouble as a country. you need a candidate who has the big solutions. i think the 21st century american contract he said meets that. secondly, you need somebody who
knows what they're doing. i'm the only candidate who for four years in a row helped balance the federal budget, and passed a national elogy titlement reform. i'm only candidate running who has had over 20 years' of experience in the national security matters. if you say to yourself we need somebody who can debate barack obama-- i think people think i could probably do that-- we need somebody with pretty big solution-- the 21st century contract with america meets that. and it will be nice to have somebody who actually knows what they're doing and could actually get it done in washington, and i think of the candidates running, i'm the only one with a track record of actually achieving things at a national level. >> woodruff: at the same time, right now, you are running behind in the polls. you are not raising as much money as the front-runners are. one of your former aides described you as living from debate to debate. what is your path to the nomination? >> my path is, first of all, to have big solution. second, to be in places like
iowa, new hampshire, south carolina. third, to have people look and make an adult choice. i mean, this isn't about the best 30-second commercial. if it's about raising money, ballis going to get re-elected. he's going to raise more money than any republican. if it's about being articulate, being able to explain what america needs to do, being able to explain why our values work and obama's values fail, offering the people the choice between the best food stamp president in american history-- that's barack obama-- and a paycheck president-- that's what i'd like to be-- i suspect that you'll find by january that we are very, very competitive and that we're right in the middle of the race. and i think, frankly, we've been doing better and better. we've been gaining momentum and the polls indicate that. >> woodruff: just quickly, a lot of buzz, talk this week whether new jersey's republican governor chris christie will get in. he said he's seriously thinking about it. if he does, does that change any of what you just said? >> no, i have a very clear, direct communication with the
american people. i'm offering a very clear set of solutions they thought about fair long time and i have a track record of national achievement actually getting solutions done. if chris christie wants to come and run, it would be great. he's a smart by, a good governor, would love to have him in the debates. if he doesn't want to run, i would love to have his support. but nothing in my campaign is predicated on governor palin or anybody else. anybody who upons to can come and run. it's a free country. what matters is who can understand what we need to do historically in this terrible time of unemployment, deficits, judges who&are alien to the american tradition. what do we do to get america back on the right track and then how would you actually get it done if you were given permission by the american people to do it? i think in that particular job description, i'm going to do just fine by january, no matter who's running. >> woodruff: well, newark we thank you for talking with us today. we appreciate it. >> woodruff: you can watch our earlier interviews with texas representative ron paul and former utah governor jon huntsman on our web site.
and we'll talk with other g.o.p. presidential contenders in the coming months. >> brown: and we go now to another story from our "economist film project" series. the film is "raw opium," about a substance with the power to both ease pain and destroy lives. much of the world's poppy crop used to make heroin is smuggled out of afghanistan. and in helmand province earlier this week, afghan and coalition troops destroyed more than $350 million worth of opium and heroin. filmmakers robert lang and peter findlay traveled to the border between afghanistan and tajikistan where they followed the difficult job of a united nation's drug enforcement agent. here's an excerpt narrated by john ralston.
>> this is where you hit rock bottom. when it comeses to opium and the heroine that's made from it, nothing is exactly what it seems. the story begins halfway around the world with a plant that has been both a curse and a blessing. the growing network of smuggling routes out of afghanistan have thwarted efforts to put a lid on the opium trade. >> we focus on high-value targets.
>> well, we focus on high-value targets. we focus on the biggest, the baddest, the largest drug- trafficking organizations in afghanistan and in the region. >> the mission for the drug enforcement administrations larry mendoza is two- fold: to keep drugs from reaching america's shores and to stop the taliban from using opium money to fund their anti- u.s. war. despite the americans best efforts, 90% of afghan opium and heroin is still smuggled out of the country. so now the united states has enlisted the support of its allies on the borders of afghanistan to help supply the manpower for anti-drug operations. in tajikistan, one of the principle agencies working with the u.s. is the united nations office on drugs and crime, the u.n.o.d.c. career cop christer brannerud is the u.n. point man charged with
the near-impossible task of helping the tajiks plug the opium pipeline. >> we have a part of this border which is u.n.o.d.c.-controlled, so to say. then we have a bilateral assistant from the u.s. and then we have a european commission who also have a border project here, who take a third part of the border. so the border line has been divided between these there place. and we are trying to support the border guards and reinforce this border outpost as good as we can with the funding we have available. >> today, brannerud's heading out on one of his periodic visits to a u.n.-supported checkpoint. >> so this task force consists
of 45 officers in three groups. and they are reacting on intelligence. what we are looking for is afghan visitors, so to say. and that could be any indicator that this village has been approached by traffickers. we cannot control all the border line, because it's 1,344 kilometers. you see young boys here. they are and they are on-- these guys here, apart from their salary they get, which is everything between $5 up to $20 per month. and of course lodgment and they get food and so on. but-- so these guys, what you see here, they're risking their lives for $20. and this is also what i used to ask people in europe. how many people will change task with these boys?
>> after 70 years as a remote outpost of the soviet union, tajikistan is now connected through moscow to a giant network of opium dealing with spokes radiating out into the drug markets of europe and the rest of the world. from the corrupt local cop to the petty bureaucrat on the take, from afghan smugglers to double-dealing government officials, the money from trafficking pervades life here. tajikistan's drug-control agency has seized $275 million worth of heroin since it was created in 2000, but that's only a tiny fraction of the drugs flowing through to moscow and the rest of the world.
it's all part of the delicate dance of drug enforcement in tajikistan, just enough to show results, but not too much to rattle the powerful interests. according to u.n. statistics, 40% of tajikistan's economy is drug related. >> ( translated ): i would not say 40% of the tajik economy is made with drugs. i have not seen that statistic anywhere. concerning the level of corruption in our agency, i must say that seven former employees have been tried and sentenced for corruption over the course of the ten years that i have worked here. i think this is a lot. i think the reason these people committed crimes is because of poverty. >> i'm really sick and tired when i go, for example, to europe. going into meetings and so on,
and they're sitting there, pointing fingers, they are blaming, they are shouting, and what's going on here? they sit in a very, very nice environment, they have good salaries, they have infrastructure, they have schools, they have everything. and then they're just blaming those people here who are nothing. and their only income for hundreds of thousands of people here are the opium and also this trafficking business. so as long as we cannot deal with our own abuse problems in our part of the world, then i think we should be a little more humbler before criticizing. as long as we have this huge demand for heroin-- not only in the west; we have in china and southeast asia, in the pacific, japan, wherever-- and as long we cannot deal with it ourselves, then we should be a little bit more balanced in the criticism. >> woodruff: "raw opium" is being screened at film festivals
here in the u.s. and abroad. find a link on our website for a list of dates and cities. you can learn about the economist film project or submit your own film at film.economist.com. >> brown: finally tonight, triumphant wins and catastrophic collapses as major league baseball heads to the playoffs. they called it "wild card wednesday": the final night of the regular season with four teams vying for two remaining spots in baseball's postseason field. and when it was over, the sport had indeed seen one of the wildest nights in its history. the st. louis cardinals got things started shutting out the houston astros eight-nothing. at the beginning of september, the cardinals had trailed the atlanta braves by eight and a half games, but had surged in recent weeks, winning 23 of their last 31 games.
the braves, having faltered all month, still had a chance, needing a win over the philadelphia phillies. they went to 13 innings, but a double play ended the game and atlanta's season in a stunning collapse. >> it's definitely disappointing. you know, whatever happened this last month. i mean, we played, we played our butts off all month. it just wasn't in the cards for us, i guess. >> brown: instead, the cards held all the cards-- st. louis clinched a first-round playoff berth, facing philadelphia this weekend. >> we just kept playing hard and kept winning some games and they were losing. you know, all of a sudden, we're back in it and able to see it through. >> brown: in the american league, even more last-minute drama, as the boston red sox and tampa bay rays also began the night tied for a wild card slot. the red sox led the baltimore orioles in the ninth inning, and needed only one out to finish it. but the orioles scored twice, to win four to three. just minutes later, in tampa, the rays' third baseman evan longoria stepped to the plate in
the bottom of the 12th inning in a tie game against the new york yankees. tampa had trailed seven-nothing at one point, but longoria's heroics sent his team to the playoffs. >> you can't even really put it into words. you know we were out here for i think you know the better part of five hours and then at the end it seemed like everything happened in a matter of seconds. >> brown: ecstasy for tampa and agony for boston, one of baseball's best teams all year, but losers of 20 of their last 27 games and now out of the playoffs altogether. sportswriter and author john feinstein joins me now to tell us more about this wild night. john, what's funny about this is just a few weeks ago, i think, baseball writers were talking about what a gloomy, uninteresting accept it was. >> there was nothing going on. all the races were over. the six visions had been decided. the wild cards, the two extra teams that make it into the play-offs in each league, along with the three division winners, looked decide.
the braves had an eightful thatful that game lead with only a few weeks to go. the red sox, who had the best record in baseball through the month of august, were nine games ahead in the wild card race. everybody was saying, ye, gee, we hope we have a good october, september was boring. >> brown: and the other part of the night, rain delay in one game, extra innings in another game, and games ending within an hour of each other and some within minutes. >> if you believe in the baseball god they were certainly at work last night creating this extraordinary, cammic activity within this period because what the rain delay did was at 11:40 last night, the atlanta braves to be out of the play-offs, blowing the biggest immediate a team has blown in 111 years to finish out of the play-offs. >> brown: not that anybody keeps track >> nobody keeps track of that. they keep track of everything in baseball, every stat. 25 minutes later, the boston red sox broke that record.
so it had stood for 111 years and then it stood for 25 minutes, and the red sox lost in baltimore, and three minutes later, evan longoria hit the game-winning home run in tampa. what was more unbelievable, three of the four teams that lost last night, two of them were one out from win the the game, and one, the braves were two outs away and they didn't win. >> brown: when you talk about atlanta and boston in this case, has anyone figured out what happens suddenly a team-- in this case, those two teams-- doing so well-- the best teams in baseball among them-- they can't win a game? >> the answer is yes and no, jeff. you can look at some tangible things. two of the braves' starting pitchers got hurt. that's a huge thing in a pennant race to lose two of your key starters. the red sox had key injuries, also, to the pitching staff. the flip side of it is, guys who had been good all of a sudden aren'ted any. the simple term for it is choking. you start squeezing the bat a
little bit harder. you start squeezing the baseball a little harder. there is an old thing in sports-- sometimes you need to try easier. it's hard to remember that when all of a sudden you weren't in a race and now you're in a desperate race and you know if you blow it, people are going to remember it forever. >> brown: you're saying that in spite of the fact-- in interviews they're always saying we know we have-- >> one game at a time. it's the old joke about don't think about elephants for the next five minutes. don't think about the fact that you're about to become part of an historic collapse. you can't stop thinking about it. >> brown: i always said about the red sox, when they lose, they lose epically. >> they're never boring. if you go back to 1978 and the blown lead and the buckey department home run, the one-game play-off with the yankees in 1986 when they were one out from winning the world series. when bull buckner made the historic remark the game was already tied. then they had the epic comeback against the yankees in 2004 to
finally break the streak and then this year. >> brown: for every loser and a lot of focus today on the losers,. >> right. >> brown: there are winners and there was some excitement in what st. louis and tampa did, deserves some real recognition. >> absolutely. they both played very good baseball. they didn't give up when it would have been very easy to give up, given how far behind they were. they kept grinding which is what you have to do in baseball. it's such a marathon, 162 games in the regular season. you start in april when it's cold. you play through the heat of summer, and then you come back around to october when it's cold again. there's no sport like it that way. they kept grinding. the tampa bay rays, in particular, looked so far out of it. they've lost key players, including carl crawford, who went to boston and made the botched last play that ended the game for the red sox last night. they lost all these key players. they had one of the lower payrolls in baseball. red sox had one of the highest and they hung in there and found the way to do it.
>> brown: now the real play-offs begin. >> we have four weeks of extraordinary baseball but i don't know how to top last night. >> brown: all right, john feinstein, thanks as always. >> thanks, jeff. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: german lawmakers voted to beef up a european rescue fund easing investor fears around the world. supporters of the syrian government attacked the american ambassador robert ford with tomatoes and eggs. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: read a dispatch from the producer ofhe "raw opium" documentary. that's on the rundown blog and you can keep track of where the 2012 presidential hopefuls are campaigning on our political calendar. find it on our "politics" page. and as part of paul solman's series on income inequality, test your knowledge of how wealth is distributed around the globe with our interactive quiz.
that's on our "making sense" page. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the "newshour' for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs
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